Korean American Essay

Pages: 3 (1043 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Race

Korean-American Immigrants: Part of the Great American Mosaic and Melting Pot

Early prejudice

After Japan occupied the neighboring nation of Korea, Korean natives fled their homeland in search of a better life in America. In this, they were no different than countless other immigrants seeking to better themselves on American soil. However, these immigrants' aspirations were often hampered by racism and discrimination, almost as soon as the S.S. Gaelic first docked in Honolulu Harbor on January 13, 1903. 120 men, women, and children were on board. Most came seeking employment as laborers on Hawaii's sugar plantations. The work was backbreaking and arduous, Over 7,000 Korean immigrants made up this first wave of Korean immigration (Korean-American History, 2010, Curriculum Guide: Unit 1).

These laborers were part of a clear 'dual labor market' in Hawaii -- Korean-Americans, regardless of their level of skill or vocational identity in Korea were relegated to a manual labor class with few opportunities for promotion. Yet despite such segregation and the benefits the immigrants performed for the local economy, the Immigration Act of 1924 ended this first wave of Korean immigration, by effectively ending all immigration from the Far East. Koreans could not come to the United States seeking citizenship for the next twenty-five years (Korean-American History, 2010, Curriculum Guide: Unit 1).Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Essay on Korean American Assignment

Even naturalized Koreans were victims of a kind of dual prejudice during this time period. In Japanese-dominated Korea, the Japanese relegated Koreans to the status of second-class citizens. In fleeing oppression, Koreans found themselves once again in such a position in America. Even worse, many were separated from their families after the passage of the Immigration Act, which did not allow for families to be reunited. In another irony, Koreans on American soil experienced anti-Asian and job-related discrimination during the war with Japan, given that many Caucasians grouped all individuals of East Asian ancestry into the same category.

The second and third waves of Korean immigrants

However, after the Korean-American war, perceptions began to change. War brides, skilled professionals, and more immigrants from Korea were permitted into the U.S. (Korean-American History, 2010, Curriculum Guide: Unit 1). Koreans strove to find new opportunities, and South Koreans, because of the history of their homeland, were often vehemently anti-communist in a manner that many native Americans approved of: however, ethnically-based discrimination remained. Also, there was to some degree a certain amount of self-segregation based on the jobs chosen by Korean-Americans, many of whom began "Korean-owned greengrocers, restaurants, and dry cleaners can be seen throughout the country. From the outside, Korean-Americans appear to have found easy success -- but they have done so by working grueling 18-hour days, 7 days a week, and sacrificing many comforts for the sake of their families, especially the children" (Korean-American History,2010, Curriculum Guide: Unit 1).

Koreans success has often given rise to claims that Koreans are a so-called 'model minority' group. However, this high level of achievement has not come without some costs -- there have been tensions between Korean-Americans and other immigrant groups, such as African-Americans, in urban locations. In many locations, the preservation of 'little Koreas' (or self-generated redlining) has created ethnic… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Korean American."  Essaytown.com.  August 20, 2010.  Accessed June 15, 2021.